Q&A #1627

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Tangrams

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From: liz <melaw@u.washington.edu>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 1999071712:10:10
Subject: tangrams

I think tangrams are versatile and instructive for children to make
and use at almost every grade and level.  Since the smallest unit
(tan) is 1/16 of the whole, it can help older students to
conceptualize proportion and the rudiments of area for triangles,
parallelograms, and trapezoids.  By 4th grade most students can find
the area of squares and rectangles, but they can also begin to
translate this knowledge to the other geometric figures the
proportional ratio between tans (shapes).  Example:  Since the
smallest triangle is 1/16 of the whole, isn't the area also 1/16 of
the whole (original square block)?  Even if the algorithms for
multiplying fractions have not been addressed, students can still have
the opportunity to "discover" possible connections... older students
can try to "create an algorithm" that fits their explorations.
I have just graduated from U.W. certification with Masters In Teaching
and interned with highly capable students in 4/5 grade (a few of them
would love to work like this).	

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